Losing another lead
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 04:02
The Oregon State men’s basketball team is a broken record.
Leading at halftime, Oregon State (13-14, 3-11 Pac-12) fell behind early in the second half and ended up losing in the final minutes to Stanford (16-11, 7-7) by a score of 82-72.
The Beavers have now led at halftime in nine of their 14 Pac-12 games and have lost six of those games. The orange and black faithful have become accustomed to seeing OSU lead’s slip away, but head coach Craig Robinson said that Thursday’s loss was not like the rest.
“I’m supremely disappointed in the way [this loss] came about, because I thought it came down to rebounding and toughness, something that we typically do pretty well,” Robinson said. “I know those guys in the locker room know that and they’re disappointed, especially coming in here for [senior] Joe [Burton’s] last weekend.”
After controlling major portions of the first half and taking a one-point lead into halftime, the Beavers promptly handed the game over to Stanford. OSU never led again after the 18:58 mark of the second half.
“We let them beat us with their effort in the second half as opposed to losing it on its own key plays down the stretch,” Robinson said.
Roberto Nelson led the Beavers in scoring for the sixth straight game, finishing with 28 points — his second highest point total of the season. Nelson also had one of his worst 3-point shooting nights all season, only making one of nine attempts.
After the game, Nelson defended his shot selection.
“I wouldn’t say I forced it, I can make shots,” Nelson said. “I’m not going to get down on myself if I miss a shot, that’s not what scorers do.”
Freshman forward Jarmal Reid logged his most minutes since Robinson began going to a three-guard lineup on Jan. 31st against California. Reid — who played 12 minutes — was mostly subbed in for his defense in the second half.
“Jarmal was getting rebounds and [junior forward] Devon [Collier] wasn’t,” Robinson said.
As a team the Beavers were outrebounded by the Cardinal 40-37, but sophomore forward Eric Moreland did manage to grab his 10th double-double of the season. The Beavers were 10-1 going into Thursday night’s game when Moreland had a double-double, but the lanky big man committed two costly turnovers in the final six minutes.
“What I actually told him is that you have to decide whether or not this season still means something,” Robinson said. “It looked like it meant more to them than it did to us. And that’s the danger you run in playing the way he have.”
After Moreland threw it out of bounds while attempting a pass to sophomore guard Challe Barton with 1:20 left and the Beavers trailing by 7, Burton — playing in one of his final home games — yelled at Moreland, visibly frustrated.
“I shouldn’t have come at him that way, I should have just encouraged him,” Burton said. “My emotions got the best of me. I apologized in the locker room.”
Robinson has said the Beavers have been lacking a leader on the floor since senior forward Angus Brandt went down with a torn ACL. Nelson agreed, backing Burton’s actions.
“That’s what we need. Realistically that’s the right thing for him to do,” Nelson said of Burton’s frustrated outburst.
The Beavers take on California in Gill Coliseum on Saturday afternoon — their last home game of the season. Despite the conference struggles, Nelson doesn’t think the season’s lost
“We still have a chance to go out and compete in the Pac-12 Tournament,” Nelson said. “I’m not counting us out yet and I don’t think you guys should either.”
Alex Crawford, sports reporter